New 911 Installation in Mississippi has Big Price Tab

December 3, 2013

“There are scary figures on this one,” Commissioner Jerry McCarson said as the DeSoto Emergency 911 District Commission considered the district’s spending report for November.

It totaled $690,700 – almost all of that a one-time payment for a new public safety phone answering system, The Commercial Appeal reported.

District deputy director James Powell says the remaining $37,700 was mostly for routine maintenance and operation.

The $653,000 payment to AT&T makes up about half the total $1.2 million planned for improved technology at the district’s five dispatch sites – Olive Branch, Southaven Horn Lake, Hernando and the Sheriff’s Department, serving Walls.

“If you factor that one expense out, we actually had a pretty cheap month,” said Bill Dahl, commission chairman.

Several dispatch console service calls throughout the month were symptoms of an older system that is to be replaced, said Jim Marineau, president of Memphis-based Integrated Communications, the 911 district’s operations contractor.

“It’s been in place since 1992. It’s still usable, but getting old,” he said.

District plan to replace and improve the system in the next few years at an estimated cost of $8 million to $12 million.

The overhaul includes consoles that receive emergency calls, and the radio units used by dispatchers to alert and send police, deputies, firefighters or search and rescue units.

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